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Cockonut August 16, 2009

Posted by tuimeltje in dinner, meals.
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Recently I bought a bunch of French beans thinking I could do fun things with them. For some reason I thought it’d be a nice idea to make sayur beans. No clue why, really. I’ve never had a particular desire for them before, or even eaten them at any point, and the bumbus (spice pastes) I’ve been able to find around here all contain trassi (some shrimpy thing) at the very least, which doesn’t make me buying and using them particularly likely.

Odd, really. Sayur lodeh en sayur beans seem to have the image of vegetable dishes, yet the bumbus I’ve found are generally not even vegetarian, never mind plants-only.

Still, the idea stuck and I figured there’d be no reason why I would be unable to make my own bumbu. Checking this wonderful web didn’t actually give me much to work with initially, since the bumbu bit of most Dutch recipes were “add X amount of bumbu sayur beans/lodeh” rather than “take XYZ and make a nice paste”.
That’s what you get with easily available spice pastes.

I did end up finding some, but none were specifically for sayur beans. This one, linked to in this post about sayur lodeh, was quite nice and clear and in my mind sayur beans is just sayur lodeh with more limited veg so I deemed it useful.

Of course I didn’t quite follow the recipe, because I never do, but it’s nice to see how other people do things so you can get a fair idea of how to go about it sensibly.
There were more reasons for not following the recipe besides a general habit, though. For one it seemed to make a larger amount than I expected to use. It also seemed slightly more complicated than I wanted, what with grinding, fresh chilis, galangal by the inch rather than the teaspoon, and more shallots than I had available.

This is what I used.
Ingredients

Ingredient-wise, my main deviation was the spices used. I used lemongrass, laos, ginger, and coriander, all powdered, rather than lemongrass, fresh laos, turmeric, and coriander.
It felt weird, not adding turmeric. Usually I chuck in what feels like a fairly liberal amound in anything I feel can do with a bit of that. Nor did I add cumin, another spice of which I generally make liberal use as it’s part of my Big Three of spices.*
The decision of which spices to use was made by checking the Conimex site for the spices used in their two sayur bumbus, checking sites about Indonesian cooking to see what kind of thing they recommended you put in your bumbus, and making sure to use lemongrass since I’d specifically purchased some to use for this.

I didn’t add the shallots either, but made up for that by sautéing a chopped shallot, chopped bottom end of a scallion, and two cloves of garlic. It’s the way I usually treat my Allium friends and for a first time I was more comfortable doing it this way.

Other ingredient differences were my use of kemiri (candle nut) paste instead of candle nuts and sambal ulek instead of fresh peppers. This was solely done for convenience, since it did away with the need to grind things and they were easier to find. I also added some soya sauce, since I didn’t see any directions about adding something salty and I just couldn’t leave that out.

My bumbu didn’t follow any direction as far as measurement goes. I just chucked in what seemed like a reasonable amount and mixed it up. Since I was using pastes and powder, it was very easy. No grinding, just stirring.

Assembly was simple and straightforward. I started by sauting the Allium stuffs for a few minutes, fixing up the paste while that was on, then I added the paste and let that sauté for a minute or two while stirring regularly. Then I added the cut-up French beans and let them sauté for a bit as well (still stirring) before adding the coconut milk.
Because the coconut milk was rather more watery than I wanted the final dish to be, I let it boil down for a while, giving my time to finish off the part baked ciabatta for sopping up whatever liquid was left.

Food!
sayur beans

It’s probably one of the greasier meals I’ve cooked, as you can probably see in the picture.
My one-serving meal contained an entire 165ml tin of coconut milk, rather more veg oil than strictly necessary for the sautéing, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the kemiri paste was fairly high in fat as well.
So while it didn’t look like, and really wasn’t, that big a plate, I did feel like I’d had plenty when I’d just finished half of it.
Still, because it didn’t look like that much and I learned to clean my plate, I ate the rest of it anyway, but was very glad I had the ciabatta near me to help.
It warmed my belly nicely, but left me with the bothersome nausea and lethargy I tend to get for a while after finishing a tasty but sizeable meal during which I ignore certain warnings. Something I, rather stupidly, continue to do even though I can deal with leftovers because apparently I don’t learn. Go me!
This dish, while not nearly as large as some I’ve eaten without a problem, was simply too rich.
Next time I make something like this I’ll have to add more veg to this amount of coconut milk and eat it as several servings over rice rather than on it’s own.
Provided I’ve learned, of course.

*The third is coriander, which I did end up using.

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